JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Tuesday was National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and to help raise awareness, many organizations across the country wore the color blue.
North Carolina is ranked number 10 for human trafficking in the entire country. The local organization True Justice International says last year they served over 100 survivors of human trafficking right here in Eastern North Carolina.
“Our number one thing that we do is support human trafficking survivors in our area,” said Executive Director of True Justice International, Traci Klein.
The organization is a nonprofit with a location in Jacksonville and a safe house in New Bern. They do hotel outreach, strip club outreach and raise awareness throughout the community.
“Without awareness, we can’t prevent it. Right? We don’t know what we don’t know. So just be aware,” said Klein.
On Wednesday, the organization will be heading to a local school to continue raising that awareness. They also provide trauma counseling to survivors and addiction recovery. Survivors often have addiction issues because of the situation they’re in and need addiction recovery to help them.
“People look at them and say, ‘Oh, she’s just a prostitute, or she’s just a drug addict’ and that’s not the case. They are people that matter. Someone’s daughter, someone’s son, someone’s mother, someone’s sister,” said Klein.
In raising awareness, they recommend familiarizing yourself with the signs that someone is being trafficked.
Some signs they say you can look out for are any type of branding through tattoos, a child not wearing age-appropriate clothes, dropping grades in school, and running away more.
“Those don’t mean that they’re being trafficked, but there are definitely red flags that you would want to look at and look deeper,” said Klein.
If you or someone you know needs help, True Justice International’s phone number is (252) 631-5111.